HOLDING HANDS WHILE PARTING WAYS: EXAMINING ALLIANCE TREATY RENEGOTIATION
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This study investigates the renegotiation of security alliances, specifically the structural conditions surrounding their revision. Although the field of international relations offers a rich discussion of the formation and violation of alliance treaties, few scholars have addressed the reasons why alliance members amend security obligations. After the formation of an alliance, a member may become dissatisfied owing to changes in the external and domestic security environments. A failure to address this discontent increases the risk of alliance breakdown. Members manage their alliance relationship through a negotiation process or intra-alliance bargaining in the search for a new arrangement that can endure. Factors that help to show commitment to the alliance and communicate a set of feasible solutions are crucial if members are to find a mutually acceptable arrangement. By taking these factors into account, allies are more likely to revise an existing treaty. Examining a set of bilateral alliances dating from 1945 to 2001, this research demonstrates that public requests for renegotiation compel allies to change the status quo. It is found that alliance-related fixed assets and the formation of external alliances increase the likelihood of treaty revision, though institutionalization of an alliance does not help to resolve interest divergence. In addition, this study examines the strategy of delay in intra-alliance bargaining. Allies may postpone a dispute by ignoring it while working to maintain the alliance. Tension among allies thus increases, but the alliance endures.
I examine three alliances in order to illustrate this renegotiation process. Among these, the Anglo-Japanese alliance demonstrates two successful renegotiations that prolonged a wavering alliance relationship; the Sino-Soviet alliance is an example of failure owing to the lack of substantive cooperation; and the US-Taiwan alliance during the 1970s demonstrates successful use of a strategy of delay that appeases a dissatisfied member.